More methane seeps discovered in the deep ocean

Arctic seafloor at 500 meters water depth. Carbonate blocks are colonized by anemones and sponges. Tube worms are abundant at the seafloor. In the upper part of the image, we see patches of bacterial mats. All of these features are indigenous to sites of methane release. Schools of codfish appeared to be following the laser beams from the camera system. Fish were often observed in big quantities during the cruise. CREDIT Courtesy of CAGE/UiT

Arctic seafloor at 500 meters water depth. Carbonate blocks are colonized by anemones and sponges. Tube worms are abundant at the seafloor. In the upper part of the image, we see patches of bacterial mats. All of these features are indigenous to sites of methane release. Schools of codfish appeared to be following the laser beams from the camera system. Fish were often observed in big quantities during the cruise. CREDIT Courtesy of CAGE/UiT

Over a course of 12 days Dr. Giuliana Panieri and her colleagues from Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) collected images from seven areas of known methane release in the Arctic Ocean. One of them was Vestnesa Ridge, with over 1000 active seep sites at the depth of over 1000 m.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas stored in the ocean floor in unknown quantities. CAGE is a centre dedicated to assessing the amount of methane stored in these reservoirs, and what impact the methane in the Arctic Ocean may have for ocean environment and climate change. Main focus of the research is gas hydrate, a methane trapped in a solid structure that resembles ice.

Panieri collaborated with scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s MISO Deep-Sea Imaging Facility. The aim was to get a proper view of the deep Arctic Ocean floor.

“We have taken so many samples all over these areas, but we were sampling blind. We needed to see what was going on down there.” says Panieri who is an awe of the results achieved during the two-week cruise.

The system that was used to get these images is based on the ‘TowCam’ design developed by WHOI scientists and engineers, and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. It consists of a color still camera that takes images every 10-15 seconds.

“This is the first time that we have seen these methane seeps in the deep Arctic Ocean areas. The images are amazing.” says Panieri.

The midnight sun allowed for the tow cam system to be deployed 24/7 providing scientist with data that will be crucial in new discoveries in years to come.

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205 thoughts on “More methane seeps discovered in the deep ocean

    • If a cruise, I guess they paid to go along with it.
      I Guess. NB.
      I pay for my Cruises. I am sure they do.
      Auto – 40 years in shipping . . .

    • The difference between a cruise and an expedition is that an expedition doesn’t have an open bar.

    • Speaking of which, does anyone know what has happened to the CO2 maps generated from OCO2 data?
      NASA still has the map for last November as the only one on its image wall. Are there problems with the satellite or with the political acceptability of the images that it is producing?

      • Yes. they have some problems. Their last update is they expect to be publishing data mid-June to mid-July

      • It has to be adjusted. Nothing is as it might seem or will be or has been or something. As long as the adjustments fit political reality. It has to be peer reviewed before release.

      • Old’un commented: “…does anyone know what has happened to the CO2 maps generated from OCO2 data?”
        I’ve been wondering the same thing. The original output/data representation is gone. It showed very regionalized concentrations of CO2 and not all where you would expect it to be. Africa and South America were awash in CO2 if I remember correctly and since you can’t ask them to cut their energy fossil fuel use much I’m sure it was an inconvenient truth. Most likely they are waiting until the data can be homogenized to their liking before another release. Another release of accurate/real data that doesn’t fit the program is unacceptable I’m sure.

      • “Speaking of which, does anyone know what has happened to the CO2 maps generated from OCO2 data?”
        The usual suspects are homogenising them to get the data to agree with the models, of course. There was a very considerable discrepancy.
        Here’s the instrumental data:
        http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/mainco2mappia18934.jpg
        Here’s the NASA model. Compare the corresponding period with the OCO2 data.

        Totally unacceptable!

    • Yes and it makes one wonder about the approval for Shell oil drilling in the Arctic.
      Especially given this:
      “[R]elease of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage [is] highly possible for abrupt release at any time” – Shakhova et al. (2008)
      Per EPA’s calculator, that’s the CO2 equivalent of 2.9T barrels of oil – 88 years of global consumption at current rates.

      • If by “highly possible”, Shakhova means “highly speculative, exaggerated, and ridiculous bullshit”, then I agree.
        It may make “one” wonder, but one is a very lonely number. Most of the rest of the several billion of us are not wondering this.

      • Let me clarify.
        The U.S. President has approved drilling in the Arctic. Drilling could potentially precipitate a grave climate crisis that vastly dwarfs the theoretical harm from the future warming which justifies the proposed draconian climate policies. I wonder at the inconsistency.
        It’s becoming a game of a chicken with the drivers racing to a four-way intersection. Somebody has likely miscalculated. Maybe you.

    • Nothing “major” about methane. Look at the planet’s emission spectrum: a tiny dent where methane should be. They get this “ferocious methane” meme by adding its tiny natural effect to the CO2 effect and the water effect that comes from burning the methane. But methane doesn’t combust in the atmosphere: the only way it can be burnt is by being hit by lightning – which usually happens during thunderstorms when the water is pouring out of the sky by the megatonne, and the converted water just falls out along with the rest. So, methane: yet another casualty of truth in the hands of the alarmists.

      • Yup.
        Here tell that high levels of methane in the air make for some very interesting lightning displays in Venezuela. So other than a colorful curiosity in a few remote locations, not an issue.
        The sky is not on fire.

      • Ron,
        Methane is oxidized in the higher troposphere by OH-radicals and ozone (thanks to UV-light). The decay rate is ~10 years half life time. Without a continuous supply from swamps, ocean floor and agriculture (rice fields) / methane leaks, it would be gone completely in ~50 years.

    • Untrue. Methane has a GWP of roughly 80 (depending on the time frame used to evaluate its GWP), whereas CO2 is the reference = 1.0.
      However, there’s far more CO2 in the atmosphere than methane, so CO2 is a more important greenhouse gas in terms of its effect on Climate.
      Atmospheric CO2 and Methane have each seen more than a 40% increase since 1750.

      • Interesting. Facts and logic, not a whif of appeal to authority to be found. Who are you and what did you do with poor warrenlb?

      • Do you have any sources for CO2 and Methane increasing in the atmosphere since 1750? Is there real measured data for both gasses over all that time period?

      • Can you please give us your evidence for the assertion that CO2 has important effects on climate?
        Seems to be that proposition is very much in doubt these days.
        Although it does seem to have cause amazing diminution in the ability of many people to reason logically, and to insist on evidence before believing a thing to be true.

      • As warrenlb said:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_ch4.jpg
        The resolution of the Law Dome DSS core is ~20 years, but spans ~1000 years while the DE08 and DE08-2 cores have a resolution of ~10 years but only span 150 years back in time.
        Recent data are from New Zealand (Cape Grim), but also other stations show a recent slowing down of the CH4 emissions/level in the atmosphere:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane
        which also shows that besides a seasonal component, the main CH4 levels increase in the NH first.

      • gymnosperm,
        The previous intergacial, the Eemian, was certainly warmer than today, and specifically in the Arctic with trees growing up to the Arctic Ocean on Alaska’s North Slope. The CH4 levels then were around 700 ppbv. Current levels increased after 1850 (and slightly before that – increased rice cultivating), not by coincidence after the start of the industrial revolution.
        We are currently above 1800 ppbv…

      • Dr. Shakova has concluded that current large releases of methane from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf are due to the mid-Holocene warming from ~8000 years ago. In one interview, iirc, she seemed exasperated that people’s interest is tied to whether or not the cause of the methane releases can be linked to the current warming pulse – i.e. human caused.

      • According to the IPCC, the global-warming potential of methane is 23, not 80, against 1 for CO2. However, the atmospheric concentration of methane has risen at well below even the least estimates in all four previous IPCC reports, so it is not proving to be anything like as much of a problem as the IPCC had suggested.

  1. Interesting. Luckily, methane conc.’s in atmosphere having been growing much more slowly
    than predicted over the last 25 years.

    • Might it be heat transfer? Where is the heat to convert the hydrates to gas?
      Gas hydrates decomposition is accompanied by heat absorption of high specific enthalpy reaching 0.5 MJ/kg (for example, melting heat of ice is 0.34 MJ/kg). Therefore, the simple lowering pressure above gas hydrate below the equilibrium point, or rising the temperature above the equilibrium appear to be insufficient for achievement of sustained hydrates dissociation. Sustainable phase transformation in this system needs continuous heat supply. In natural conditions, gas hydrate dissociation is driven by heat accumulated within the reservoir combined with heat influx from the surrounding rock mass. However, the latter is usually negligible, thus the in-situ gas hydrate dissociation should be basically endothermic (i.e. comprising a heat absorption process).
      http://gasoilpress.com/dgir/dgir_detailed_work.php?DGIR_ELEMENT_ID=283&WORK_ELEMENT_ID=5641
      So melting 0.5 kg of hydrates will freeze 1.47 kg of water? They still do not know thermodynamics or why the rate is never going to be catastrophic.

      • Maybe this is the global ocean thermostatic mechanism – Trenberth’s missing heat arriving in the deep ocean causes the release of methane from hydrates thereby causing immediate cooling.
        Possibly, we can use methane release by the oceans as a proxy for global ocean warming/cooling?

      • DD, you might want to read the article that you referenced a little closer. Hydrates have a trigger temperature and in the process referenced, heat is being supplied to raise the gas hydrate to that temperature. When the temperature is reached, 9 joules of energy are released for each joule required to raise the temperature. There is a high school chemistry experiment where a thermometer is placed in a beaker of water and table salt, sodium chloride, is added to the water. The water cools as the sodium chloride goes into solution, the water molecules are forming bonds with the chlorine and sodium ions. Energy is required to form the bonds and that energy is removed from the water causing its temperature to be lower. When gas hydrates are formed, energy is removed from water and the temperature is lowered. When the temperature of the gas hydrate reaches its trigger temperature, the energy is released. Oil companies with deep oil wells have trouble with methane and water in the form of moisture getting into their pipes and forming a hydrate and freezing up the pipe.

      • “Possibly, we can use methane release by the oceans as a proxy for global ocean warming/cooling?”
        Billy, I love this one 🙂

    • Then the pressure builds up and the plugs will turn into concrete bullets penetrating oil tankers and causing oil slicks that will then be eaten by bacteria … Oh the Organics of it all.

    • Now I know why my parents added salt to the ice when making ice cream in a hand cranked container housed in a wooden bucket holding the ice.

    • Methane’s GWP over 100 years is still 29 times that of CO2, so it’s a much more potent greenhouse gas per unit mass, even after 100 years, vs CO2.

      • @patmcguinness
        The article in your link says: “While its atmospheric concentration is much less than that of carbon dioxide, methane is 20 times more effective at trapping infrared radiation! ”
        The quote is indefinite –it doesn’t say over what time period the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 is evaluated .. in fact it doesn’t even use the scientific term GWP. So I can only assume it is referring to the 100 year GWP of methane –which is actually 29 times that of CO2, and 34 with carbon-climate feedbacks included. (This means that one of the by products of CH4 decay is CO2 –which has a much longer lifetime.)
        I believe the answer to your question is that CH4 decays and one of its byproducts is CO2 –which continues on for hundreds of years.

      • Warren, when I fiirst researched methane in 2003, I found that its anthropogenic fingerprint was lost in natural variation. That still holds. It is also true that we cannot find the proposed ghg fingerprint, and what was a 32yr warming cycle is now an early cooling one. About the stage we were around 1958, which year I remember well.

  2. Vonbroks,
    Deep methane seeps are oxidized by microbes as they rise and the resultant CO2 is either absorbed by the oceans or escapes to the atmosphere as shown by the OCO2 satellite map.

  3. Let’s not be too jaded.
    Making observations of the real world is part one of real science.

  4. damn….biology is hard…..chemical biology is harder
    Methane will not reach the surface from that depth…..bacteria will eat it all
    …if the methane increases…the bacteria increases

    • Much of the methane will immediately form a hydrate. We have the example of the problem that deep ocean oil wells have with methane and moisture forming hydrates and freezing up the pipes.

  5. “Methane is a potent greenhouse gas”
    Methane is said to be a potent greenhouse gas. I doubt it does any more or less than CO2 which is to say … cools on net.
    Besides the above; the venting of said gas is not a new thing. It has not killed us all yet. 🙂

  6. The ultimate goal, of course, is “saving the planet”. But sometimes, despite themselves, and their best efforts to prevent it, some actual science occurs.

    • Observations from spectroscopy – same as our knowledge of CO2.
      Of course, if there are negative feedbacks in the natural world they won’t be known.
      But molecule for molecule, the effect of methane is greater than CO2; regardless of what happens next.

      • MCourtney June 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm
        …Observations from spectroscopy … molecule for molecule, the effect of methane is greater than CO2;…

        Do you have a link to back that up?

      • Anyone care to speculate why the greenhouse fanatics dodge the issue of the GWP for water vapour?

      • No scientist dodges the fact that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. It’s just not increasing globally, whereas CO2 , the 2nd largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, is increasing (up over 40% since 1750 due to the burning of fossil fuels.)
        These substantial increases in CO2, as well as the similar increases in methane, nitrous oxides, sf6 and the halocarbons, are responsible for the warming of the climate during the industrial era.

      • Except, the earth was already warming before any of those gases started to rise significantly in concentration.

      • @schitzree
        The sharp increase in the rate of global temperature rise began well after the rise in man -caused GHG emissions beginning circa 1750.

      • warrenlb June 24, 2015 at 6:02 pm
        No scientist dodges the fact that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. It’s just not increasing globally

        Ah, thanks for that warrenlb. You forgot to add that this fact is in direct opposition to the theory endorsed by climate scientists which rests on positive feedback due to increasing water vapour, which, as you have pointed out, isn’t increasing.

      • @dmh
        Good catch. To be more accurate I should have said “Water vapor presence in the atmosphere is only increasing very slowly (global mean trend is +1.2% per decade) and only as a result of the AGW-induced warming of the planet, since water vapor presence in air is primarily a function of air temperature (by the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship).

      • @WarrenLib
        If the mean trend is 1.2% per decade, why did temperatures increase in the 1880-1940s, decrease until the 70s, increase until the 90s, and stay stagnant since the early 2000s? If the trendline is up, like CO2, why has the effect massively varied for the last 100+ years?
        Additionally, how do you account for the fact that the trend in water vapor hasn’t increased while CO2 concentration has significantly increased since 2000?

      • warrenlb June 25, 2015 at 5:17 am
        Water vapor presence in the atmosphere is only increasing very slowly (global mean trend is +1.2% per decade) and only as a result of the AGW-induced warming of the planet, since water vapor presence in air is primarily a function of air temperature

        OK, so first you said water vapour wasn’t increasing at all, now you say it is and that it is due to AGW induced warming of the air temperatures. Would that be the air temperatures that the satellites have found not to be warming for close to 20 years? How does one attribute cause and effect when the cause cannot be measured? Don’t quote surface records at me, the GHE is active at altitude, exactly where the satellites measure.

      • “These substantial increases in CO2, as well as the similar increases in methane, nitrous oxides, sf6 and the halocarbons, are responsible for the warming of the climate during the industrial era.”
        And the similar and even more extreme “warming of the climate” before the industrial era?

  7. The leaks over natural gas reservoirs on land are largely natural, too. There is a sniffer device for detecting it for exploration purposes, too. What this tells us is that basically methane (at under 2 ppm) is totally harmless and has been a factor in the atmosphere for millions of years. When I worked in northern Canada on geological surveys it was a “magic” trick to play on junior assistants to tramp hard on a “floating” bog and light a match to give a blast of bluish flame.
    This was in the 1950s before this nonsense was ever thought of. And here we are worrying about cattle farts!!! I wonder how many cattle the seeps across the Arctic represent in their certain millions. The 1.7ppm is probably near a level where oxidation converts it to CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere, maybe a thunderstorm does this quickly. You have to be under 40 to not think you live in a totally crazy world.

    • Talking about cattle farts, years ago we nearly eliminated Buffaloes and now apparently these days also Caribou and wild life on the African continent . Does that not offset the increase of methane (although those declining animal populations are bad things and to me a direct result of lack of help to those countries that would benefit from cheap energy and would not be forced to hunt for them).

  8. Oh no. Global warming is worse than we thought. The warming of the oceans, (or is it acidification, or perhaps fracking, I forget which argument-du-jour was supposed to be used today), is causing cracks in the ocean floor allowing methane to escape which is going to lead to more runaway warming temperatures. We’ve passed the tipping point! Stop all carbon emissions now or we are doomed! Sorry, some days my sarcasm about the CAGW claims gets carried away.

  9. Natural gas forms deep in the earth and rises to the surface around the earth excepting where the shield is near the surface. The amount that perks through the topsoil, in the presence of adequate moisture, determines the richness of the topsoil.
    In the topsoil, aerobic microbes consume the gas, use the hydrogen for energy, and excrete CO2.

  10. “I look at the world, and I’m glad it’s not burning
    While methane gas slowly seeps
    With every new grant, they pretend they are learning
    While methane gas slowly seeps…”

  11. and from the office that brought you “children will not know what snow is”….a mere 10 years ago….
    …that same MET office brings you……….ICE AGE
    Britain faces FREEZING winters as slump in solar activity threatens ‘little Ice Age’
    BRITAIN could face colder than average winters with a plunge in solar activity threatening a new “little ice age” in the next few decades.
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/586404/Britain-freezing-winters-slump-solar-activity

    • just like mediums
      “has someone in the audience just lost a close family member, I’m feeling the letter ‘M’ ”
      jes keep tossin’ stuff out yer bound hit something

      • warrenlb:
        Britain is part of the world.
        Much of the world – including Britain – is said to be facing “colder than average winters with a plunge in solar activity threatening a new “little ice age” in the next few decades”.
        So much for GLOB AL warming.
        Richard

      • It seems to me the data shows the world is 1.4F warmer than in about 1880, and 9 of the 10 warmest years on record were set after 2000. How can someone with your claims to a scientific background make such a ridiculous post?

      • @warrenlib
        Those temperature “Records” are thousandths of a degree – we don’t measure reliably to thousandths of a degree. The “hottest year on record!” claims are statistical noise.
        You don’t get to claim that one year the “record” was 14.71C average and then claim the next year that a “new record” was set at 14.72C and then claim that these are data points that prove anything, especially when the margin of error is several tenths of a degree. That’s not science.

      • @arsten
        An 18 year slowdown in the rate of warming does not ‘Disprove’ AGW anymore than the same 18 year gradual rise ‘proves’ AGW, nor did I claim it did. If you trace back the thread, my citing of the record was in response to richardscourtneys ridiculous claim that it somehow ‘disproved’ AGW.

      • @warrenlb
        You made a claim about “Data” and then a claim about “records.” Those were the two claims you made. You then made a disparaging remark, which while not saying “proved” certainly implied, that Richard S Courtney was wrong. I said nothing about proving or disproving AGW, I was specifically speaking about your attempts to disprove Richard S Courtney.
        Your data claim is about correct, depending upon your chosen data set and I did not address it. Your “records” claim is a fallacy and not scientifically based and I did address it.
        Now that you have decided to deride me for your own failure to understand my point, I will point out specifically that Richard S Courtney made a specific claim about some predictions of the future as an anonymous aggregate of other sources, which your points do not address. The world climate relies on specific parameters and boundaries for the climate, most of which are unknown or woefully misunderstood by science. His aggregate restatement of those predictions are not refuted by the historical data nor by the “record temperature” fallacy you presented.

    • @ Lattide: “Britain faces FREEZING winters as slump in solar activity threatens ‘little Ice Age”
      What a crock that statement is the “slump” is part of the natural solar cycle and right now heading for a minimum. Is it deeper one, like the Maunder minimum? That only time will tell but to call it a slump is just ignorant by the MET office! But I guess any excuse will do these days. Thanks for the link though.

  12. is there any possibility to capture and burns this? it might be useful in the next few decades.

  13. Of course Saturn has an entire moon filled with methane and though energy from the sun is greatly diminished, one would expect some increase in temperature if the whole greenhouse theory had a leg to stand on. Instead the molecule is in liquid form. Oceans of it failing to provide that “feedback mechanism” that we hear so much about.

    • Where did you read that this moon refutes the greenhouse effect?
      Do greenhouses warm? Yet put one on that moon and no one expects the temperature to be above freezing, but the greenhouse behavior is still there.

  14. Dawtgtomis,
    The best way to capture it is while it in it’s zone of stability.
    Japan is working on methods to retrieve hydrates and the US has done research into capture with BP
    on Alaska’s North Slope.
    Hydrates are an enormous source of energy which will be tapped when the price is right.

  15. By the way, warren lb (or anyone), what do the thousands of peer reviewed papers have to say about this subject?

      • There’s over 200 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere as methane, so methane, although more potent per unit mass, has the lesser effect.
        Here is a link to summary writeup on the relative climate forcing of methane vs CO2 and other drivers of climate. It also addresses the growth in atmospheric methane, which indeed has slowed considerably in recent years.

      • Isn’t that odd! Global warming has all but stopped also in recent years. Yet my crops continue to break records of production per acre due to the continually increasing CO2. So why do you feel there is some emergency of runaway warming (other than the political correctness of blind faith in the consensus)?

      • warrenlb:
        WUWT is a science site. It is good to see you trying to support your arguments with links, but if you are to obtain any credibility on WUWT then you need to link to scientific information and NOT to climate porn sites.
        I hope this information helps you.
        Richard

      • warrenlb:
        You write

        @Richardscournty
        I certainly don’t need help from a d**nier of Science.

        Good. Then – as I suggested – you will not again link to that climate porn site.
        It gives me great pleasure that I was able to help you with that.
        Richard

      • Really guys don’t feed the troll. He’ll eventually get bored with poking all of us sadly misguided ones and return to his favoured site.

      • This is an opinion blog, It samples some of the science, but does not represent the work of scientists as a whole. It gives a stage to a small fraction of the relevant science.

  16. Those of you with pet cods will be excited to have learned from this work that, just like your cat, they’ll chase around your living room running after a laser beam.
    Scientific research — always with a new surprise! 🙂

  17. I don’t see any methane in the picture. Where is the ‘amazing’ picture of methane seeping?

  18. “All of these features are indigenous to sites of methane release. Schools of codfish appeared to be following the laser beams from the camera system. Fish were often observed in big quantities during the cruise.”
    So fish are attracted to methane releases? Or just laser pointers?

  19. Last I heard it is like 50 million degrees in the center of the earth.
    No wonder there are some gases/molten rocks escaping, it would be weird if they weren’t.
    Oh, wait, what !!
    It ain’t 50 million degrees
    Then never mind.

  20. They need to keep an eye on that methane “ticking time bomb”. Hoo boy! With all those billions of hiroshima bombs worth of “extra heat” going off in the oceans, and “ticking time bombs” set to go off in the Arctic, we”ll be lucky if mankind is even around in 50 years. We’re doomed.

      • @ Bruce and asybot
        Nahhh… you’re both off. According to Erlich in The Population Bomb, we all starved to death in 1985 or thereabouts.
        (Funny, I don’t feel dead but that could be just me.)

  21. The cod are probably feeding on the small filter feeders that eat the microbes which feed on the natural gas.

  22. I can see it now … the planet’s defective, it’s leaking methane, we’ve gotta sue somebody, demand the leaks be fixed … how long before it’s trending on the intellectually challenged social media? … and the lamestream media start drooling over said social media’s forward looking “thinking” …

    • Yep great idea. Warren will like that. How about we just burn the stuff 🙂 we only need worry about the biproducts Then.
      Sorry couldn’t resist…..

  23. Dr. Thomas Gold would not have been at all surprised. I am wondering if there is any information on the type of rocks which the seeps originate in.
    If they are not sedimentary, that casts big shadows over any peak oil theories that still survive.

    • What was Gold’s contribution to this topic? He was a professor of astronomy at University when I attended. I saw him debate Fred Hoyle on Big Bang vs Steady State. Filled the Statler auditorium.

      • Thomas Gold believed that there was a deep zone populated by thermophilic bacteria , living on abiogenic hydrocarbons that seeped up from even deeper levels , sweeping up He from radioactive decay .He carried out a deep borehole expt in non sedimentary rocks in Sweden that he believed vindicated his theory .
        He wrote a book “The Deep Hot biosphere ” published by springer verlag in 1998 and a few paragraphs on the idea is given in “Dark Life” by Michael Ray Taylor , Bloomsbury , 1999

  24. First, the half-life of methane in the atmosphere is similar to that of CO2, only about 5 years. And, as it is at about one 400th of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and reputably 20 times the “greenhouse gas” ability compared to CO2, it’s effect is still only one 20th that of CO2.
    Next, lets consider that it is likely that the tiny effect that CO2 might have on climate is undetectable and with man’s contribution at 3% of that, our effect is truly undetectable. In parallel with this, the effect of methane should thus be one 20th of undetectable. It’s a non-starter.
    Yeah, methane is another gas we do not have to worry about. We need more CO2 not less, as, if we do have colder times coming, we need all the food enrichment we can get. There is no downside to CO2.

    • Your assumption that CO2 has a ‘tiny effect’ on climate and that Mans contribution to net CO2 emissions is 3% are both off the mark.
      Man’s emissions of CO2 are indeed a small fraction of the total of natural emissions, but the CO2 that nature emits from oceans and vegetation is balanced by natural absorption by oceans and vegetation. Therefore, human emissions are incremental to the natural balanced flows, raising atmospheric CO2 to levels (400 ppmv+) not seen in at least 800,000 years. Humans emit 26 gigatonnes of CO2 per year while CO2 in the atmosphere is rising by only 15 gigatonnes per year – much of human CO2 emissions is being absorbed by natural sinks.
      (The analogy that may be useful is a bathtub representing the atmosphere, with the faucet turned on, and the drain open such that the flow in just balances the flow out, and so water level in the bathtub remains unchanged. Then if man were to start dumping water into the bathtub in the amount of 3% of the faucet’s flow rate, the bath tub water levels (atmospheric CO2) would begin to rise continuously.)
      Regarding CO2’s effect on climate:
      Greenhouse gases and ozone contribute warming of +2.9 Wm-2. The majority of this is from CO2 (+1.66 Wm-2). This warming is offset by anthropogenic aerosols, reducing the total human caused warming to 1.6 Wm-2. So the warming from CO2 actually exceeds the final total radiative forcing.
      So there are two reasons for the focus on CO2:
      1.CO2 is the most dominant radiative forcing
      2.CO2 radiative forcing is increasing faster than any other forcing

      • CO2 is plant food –
        in almost 20 years, no warming, but excellent greening of the biosphere

      • Two things: the carbon dioxide level increases and the rate of temperature increase do not match, and the effect of carbon dioxide is logarithmic and is decreasing in effect. Also, although line widening may be seen in solar spectrum, the Earth’s atmosphere is benign and no line widening mechanism has been identified. A lot of claims have been made about the bad effects of carbon dioxide, none of these stand up under close inspection.

      • @Retired Engineer John
        The Greenhouse Effect is not debatable, unless you reject 6th Grade Western Science. The effect was discovered in the 19th century, and has been studied and proven many times since then. Find it in any college level atmospheric physics textbook.

      • 6th grade science = carbon cycle, buddy
        and water cycle and nitrogen cycle
        but your fear must be powerful

      • Warren, I know about the Greenhouse Effect. I have read and studied it along with the physics that accompanies it. Are you blind to the fact that despite all the pieces that seem to support the CO2 theories and all the good scientists that have supported it; it is not working. When something doesn’t work an engineer would admit it, well scientists never think they are wrong. But, they are wrong and you need to try again, start over and find what really is happening with the climate.

      • warrenlb if you are so concerned about global warming, why don’t you insist that all fuels used are organic?

      • Damned : a Maxwell daemon escaped, he is running amok, carefully sorting molecule of CO2 so that .
        “CO2 that nature emits from oceans and vegetation is balanced by natural absorption by oceans and vegetation”, whereas “human emissions are incremental to the natural balanced flows”.
        For sure, we see that every time (for instance, when water rains down on my terrace, it drains and dry away, whereas water poured by some human would stay forever). Don’t we ?
        That’s because, first, Nature balance itself very quickly, under 1 year for CO2, it’s “settled science”. Science showed that CO2 kept the same since Permian era, only th show variation since humans are messing with it …
        And second, we human are very special, not part of Nature. Thanks God. Who created us atop nature just a few score of centuries ago (no more that 6000 years for sure)
        /sarc
        seriously … who talked about 6 grade ?

      • “So there are two reasons for the focus on CO2:
        1.CO2 is the most dominant radiative forcing
        2.CO2 radiative forcing is increasing faster than any other forcing”
        Dude, you really need to get over the high school physics of nothing but radiative forcing to include at least the more nuanced junior college concepts of spectroscopy.
        https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/co2abs4x.jpg
        https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/saturated.jpg
        The most intense CO2 absorption bands are saturated. This means adding more CO2 does not increase the radiative forcing, but confines the absorptive profile (for outgoing radiation) closer to the earth’s surface. The OLR is completely captured ever more quickly and at a lower altitude as concentration increases. This effect is completely opposite the notion of increasing “net radiating altitude” which is not supported by satellite data.
        This lowering of the complete capture altitude effectively sequesters the few “well mixed” CO2 molecules in atmospheric water, which is highly concentrated at the surface.

      • The one making assumptions is you, Warren. Any predictions of the ghg hypothesis have been proven wrong. It didn’t happen, so grow out of it.

      • paqyfelyc,
        The overall mass balance is:
        increase in the atmosphere = human emissions + natural emissions – natural sinks.
        In 1960 that was:
        0.5 ppmv = 1 ppmv + X1 – Y1
        X1 – Y1 = -0.5 ppmv/year
        In 2012 that was:
        2.12 ppmv = 4.5 ppmv + X2 – Y2
        X2 – Y2 = -2.38 ppmv/year.
        The year by year increase in human emissions and the increase in the atmosphere and thus the net sink rate increased a fourfold in the past 55 years and in every year of that period Y was larger than X, whatever Y and X might have been.
        Simple conclusion: human emissions are responsible for the increase and the response of the carbon cycle on the increase is relative slow and remarkably linear. This thesis is supported by all known observations:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html
        More elaborate thesis: there is a possibility that the natural cycle also increased a fourfold in exactly the same time period, combined with an extreme fast response from the natural sinks.
        Not a 3-fold or 5-fold increase in the natural cycle, as that can’t give a fourfold increase in the atmosphere with a fourfold increase of human emissions: human emissions and natural emissions are removed in the same ratio as they are in excess in the atmosphere.
        You may try to show a fourfold increase in the atmosphere from a mix of a non-fourfold increase in the total carbon cycle and a fourfold increase of human emissions with any sink rate you can imagine…
        That there was an increase in the total natural carbon cycle is not supported by any known observation like 13C/12C ratio, oxygen balance or residence time… Thus sorry, while there is a very remote possibility that the natural carbon cycle did mimic human emissions, that is not supported at all.
        I have the impression that you underestimate what is already known from the natural carbon cycles: many measurements were and are done which differentiate between different sources (oceans, vegetation) and sinks. There is a direct link between the atmosphere and the deep oceans: the main sink is in the NE Atlantic, where the THC directly sinks into the deep, largely bypassing the rest of the ocean surface and returns ~1000 years later as upwelling in the East Pacific near the Ecuadorian/Peruvian coasts which makes their fishermen happy. Only during an El Niño the upwelling ceases and the fish largely disappears…
        The upwelling gives a lot of CO2 free while warming up near the surface and the THC sinks takes a lot of CO2 down into the deep with the cold polar waters. That is estimated at around 40 GtC/year permanently exchanged all over the year, based on the “thinning” of the human caused 13C/12C ratio decline from fossil fuel use: the decline is only 1/3rd of what it would be theoretically if all human caused CO2 would remain in the atmosphere.
        This sentence makes as (few) sense as if I said “since last year I add a 5 g sugar piece to my daily coffee, and I gained 1 kg last year. Since the added sugar is 1,5 kg, 1/3 must have been removed somewhere”.
        If you start one day to eat one slice of bread each meal more than before and don’t change anything for the rest in your diet and don’t change your daily exercise, what do you think will happen with your weight?
        Humans add increasing levels of CO2 directly into the atmosphere and there is not the slightest observation that shows that the total carbon cycle increased one bit. To the contrary: more recent estimates of the residence time show a slight increase which is consistent with a rather stable throughput in an increased CO2 mass of the atmosphere…
        why “must” (it did, for sure, but was it necessary or just contingent ?) ? why “half” ? and, foremost, why [human emissions] ?
        Again you are accusing me of something I didn’t say or imply. I did say human emissions are twice the increase in the atmosphere. That is an observed fact, not my opinion, and not at all a “must” (it may be -50 or 150% for me), as that depends of total emissions and sink speed:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em2.jpg
        Since 1900, the “airborne fraction” is average 53% of human emissions. I don’t know where you did find your figures, mine are the official figures from DOE for human fossil fuel use and cement manufacturing and the CO2 levels at Mauna Loa from NOAA.
        Even without a “must”, that the increase ratio is such an incredible linear fact is because human emissions were constantly increasing over the years in a near linear fashion, which gives a slightly quadratic increase in total human CO2 emissions, CO2 pressure in the atmosphere and sink rate, thus a linear ratio between the emissions and “airborne fraction”.
        With CO2 emissions increasing in the same way (“business as usual”) and a linear sink rate, I am pretty sure that the ratio will stay around 50%.
        If you can find a natural cause for such an linear ratio, which also fits all other observations, I like to hear that…
        a roughly 5 year decay in atmosphere
        That sentence does apply for any individual CO2 molecule (whatever its origin) before swapped with a CO2 molecule from another reservoir. That doesn’t apply to the decay rate of an excess mass of CO2 (whatever its origin) in the atmosphere above steady state. That is over 50 years e-fold rate.
        How can you write in the same sentence that there is some sort of FIXED steady state dependent on (among other) a VARIABLE such like ocean temperature, that change every days, years, centuries ? …
        I did write that the steady state is 290 ppmv for the current temperature
        For a different temperature the simple rule is a change of 8 ppmv/K. That was the case for the past 800,000 years until some 160 years ago. It still is the case (4-5 ppmv/K) for seasonal to year by year variability. It is negligible as cause of the 110 ppmv increase measured since 1850. Or 70 ppmv since 1958.
        Henry’s law applies always, no matter bio-life in the oceans or land. The 8 ppmv/K is what is measured as result of bio-life and ocean changes, ice advances and melting, etc…

    • warrenlb:
      I see you are using the nonsensical ‘mass balance argument’. This is an improvement on your promotion of the Appeal to Authority fallacy, but not much of an improvement.
      The ‘mass balance argument’ is circular in that it relies on an assumption to prove itself. You clearly state the assumption saying

      Man’s emissions of CO2 are indeed a small fraction of the total of natural emissions, but the CO2 that nature emits from oceans and vegetation is balanced by natural absorption by oceans and vegetation.

      Nothing else in nature is “balanced” like that and there is only an assumption that “the CO2 that nature emits from oceans and vegetation is balanced”.
      What little evidence there is suggests the assumption is wrong. For example, if “man’s emissions of CO2” are disrupting the mass balance then every large volcanic eruption should, too, but they don’t.
      Simply, the ‘mass balance argument’ uses an assumption that
      “the CO2 that nature emits from oceans and vegetation is balanced”
      to show
      “the CO2 that nature emits from oceans and vegetation is balanced”.
      This is a circular argument because an assumption cannot prove itself.
      And there is evidence that the assumption is wrong.
      The fact that the ‘mass balance argument’ is nonsense does not prove man’s emissions of CO2 are not responsible for the recent rise in atmospheric CO2; man’s emissions of CO2 may or may not be responsible.
      Richard

      • What? My post was, in response to another post, an explanation for how Mans emission of CO2 can lead to a build up of CO2 in the atmosphere, even though its only 3% of the total of natural emissions.
        You are consistent at least — rejecting a universal Scientific understanding of yet another well established phenomenon.

      • Warren, you are describing yourself, your own flaws, not Richard’s.
        Natural variation (NOT balance !) of CO2 is a well established fact. At all time scale (day, month, year, centuries and millenia). So “You are consistent at least — rejecting a universal Scientific understanding of yet another well established phenomenon.”

      • Except that Warrenlb was right in this case: If you have a dynamic system in balance, any small addition in a relative slow system will lead to an increase.
        As there is not the slightest indication that any natural cycle increased over time, the increase is from human emissions, which are twice the observed increase in the atmosphere. Human emissions fit all observations, none of the alternative explanations fit all observations.
        That the natural cycles didn’t increase is clear from the small increase in residence time over the past decade, that is from a rather stable throughput in an increasing mass of CO2…

      • Ferdinand:
        Please don’t be silly.
        warrenlb and you are both wrong for the same reason. Please see my post in this thread here that yet again states your error.
        You do NOT have “a dynamic system in balance”.
        You have an implausible assumption of “a dynamic system in balance”.
        An assumption cannot prove itself.
        I really, really wish the nonsensical ‘mass balance argument’ would stop rising from its grave. The ‘mass balance argument’ being nonsense does not prove man’s emissions of CO2 are not responsible for the recent rise in atmospheric CO2; man’s emissions of CO2 may or may not be responsible. Hence, any discussion of the daft ‘mass balance argument’ is a distraction.
        Richard

      • At the point we all seem to agree that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the result of DIFFERENT molecules than the ones humans produce can we really know? Does it matter? Well over 300 GtC flow in an out of the atmosphere from different sources and to different sinks and with different isotopic signatures every year. Our best Carbon cycle models cannot be reconciled with our best estimates of the isotopic composition of the flows. Either the flows in the model are larger and more skewed than we think, or we have the isotopes wrong.
        All we can know is that we are peeing into a creek that is rising. Are we contributing to the rise? Absolutely. Can we know how much? Nope.

      • gymnosperm:
        You say

        All we can know is that we are peeing into a creek that is rising. Are we contributing to the rise? Absolutely. Can we know how much? Nope.

        I would agree if you had written
        All we can know is that we are peeing into a creek that is rising. Are we contributing to the rise? Probably. Can we know how much? Nope.
        At issue is what the atmospheric CO2 rise would be in the absence of the anthropogenic emission. And the anthropogenic emission may be irrelevant; for example, if all the anthropogenic emission is sequestered near its emission sites without overloading the local sequestration processes then the anthropogenic emission would not affect whatever is causing the rise.
        We need to know what is happening, and the illogical ‘mass balance argument’ hinders the obtaining of the needed information.
        Richard

      • Come on Richard, the CO2 cycle was quite stable over the past 800,000 years and shows not more than 8 ppmv/K variability over long periods, but also between MWP and LIA as a drop of ~6 ppmv for a drop of ~0.8 K in temperature. The latter in ice cores with a resolution of ~20 years and an accuracy of +/- 1.2 ppmv.
        Even in the past 55 years, the natural variability in sink rate is not more than +/- 1 ppmv around the trend…
        If you can think that nature is the cause of the current 110 ppmv increase above steady state per Henry’s law, then I like to hear your preferred cause and its detailed effect on the mass balance, oxygen balance, 13C/12C ratio of atmosphere and ocean surface, DIC and pH in the oceans, etc…
        If you can’t show that your alternative – like human emissions – fulfill all these observations, then your “I don’t know what is the cause” is just hand waving to avoid the question…

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen:
        Come on Ferdinand, you do NOT KNOW the CO2 cycle was quite stable over the past 800,000 years.
        As always, you accept the data which supports your assertions and ignore the data which refutes your assertions.
        The ice core data suggest (n.b. SUGGESTS and NOT SHOWS) what you state and the stomata data refutes it.
        And your argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy.
        I again repeat that the fact the ‘mass balance argument’ is nonsense does not prove man’s emissions of CO2 are not responsible for the recent rise in atmospheric CO2; man’s emissions of CO2 may or may not be responsible. Hence, I am at a loss to understand why you promote the nonsense.
        Richard

      • come on Ferdinand, you should take a look at
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/03/15/chaos-climate-part-1-linearity/
        specially the nice May Island squirrel population r=4 graph, or just the final “take home message” if you are lazy
        “If you have a dynamic system in balance” … it’s NOT a dynamic system. You’re talking about fairies.
        All life, all biosphere, all organic chemistry on earth is about OUT OF EQUILIBRIUM dynamics. When a living thing return to balance you call it DEATH. The assumption of some sort of natural balance is sheer nonsense when we talk about CO2, CH4, O2, etc. since life is heavily involved.

      • Richard,
        The stomata data don’t have the resolution and a variable bias to be of any value for past absolute CO2 levels. Absolute levels of CO2 in ice cores is 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma) for repeated measurements in one core and less than 5 ppmv between two cores. Resolution depends of accumulation rate and is less than a decade for the past 150 years up to 560 years over the past 800,000 years. The current 110 ppmv increase over 160 years would be measurable as a (lower peak) in all ice cores.
        Further, also the 13C/12C ratio was rather stable and only shows a change of a few tenths of a per mil over glacial-interglacial transitions and back, which shows that the oceans were the main driver. Since the industrial revolution, the 13C/12C ratio dropped with 1.6 per mil. That would be impossible if all CO2 was captured within a few minutes as you alluded.
        The only alternative that could give a similar drop is the biosphere, but that is a proven sink for CO2…
        As every (chemical) engineer can tell you: the mass balance is one of the most important points in chemical and biological processes. It must fit for every moment of the day or even second. What humans bring in in the atmosphere must go somewhere. It doesn’t just disappear in the carbon cycle.
        As said before: the mass balance itself is already a strong argument for the human influence, but the combination of all observations is rock solid. Again as long as you haven’t shown an alternative that fits ALL observations, the rejection or even doubt about the human contribution is one of the worst arguments skeptics can use in any debate with “warmistas”…

      • paqyfelyc,
        The total CO2 cycle on earth behaves as a simple linear system out of balance over at least the past 55 years: there was a 4-fold increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (whatever the cause) and the CO2 cycle responded with a 4-fold increase in net CO2 uptake. The fourfold increase of human emissions in the same period in my opinion being the main cause.
        Even if one expands the period to 1900 and assume that both the ice cores (resolution ~10 years) and the early emission estimates are accurate, there is an extreme good linear response of the total CO2 cycle to human emissions:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1900_cur.jpg
        or for the past 55 years of accurate measurements at the South Pole and Mauna Loa (or any other station):
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1960_cur.jpg
        The chaotic part is in the +/- 1 ppmv year by year variability in sink rate which is mainly caused by the influence of temperature (and drought) on tropical vegetation. But that levels out to near zero (slightly negative) after 1-3 years.

      • Ferdinand,
        “What humans bring in in the atmosphere must go somewhere. It doesn’t just disappear in the carbon cycle.”
        BUT nobody denies (do you ?) that humans burn each year MORE ( at least 2x, and growing) carbon than atmosphere shows growth of CO2,
        Do you believe that, if humans did not burn carbon, the atmosphere would experience a dramatic plummet down in CO2, making it disappear in mere centuries ? I think not, despite that is what your argument implies.
        Likewise, your argument implies that it would be stupid waste to bring CO2 in greenhouses’ atmosphere, because it would just stay there with no effect. However, this is done, with profit.
        QED : your argument is nonsense.
        And it is so, because Atmosphere is NOT a reservoir of carbon, It is just a pathway between several much bigger reservoir (biosphere, ocean, …). As every (chemical) engineer can tell you:
        1) the mass balance is not to be used to explain changes in concentration in intermediate products, those that are consumed nearly as fast as they are produced. You must make a kinetic analysis.
        2) if these product have low concentration, it means that consumption is naturally faster than production, only delays account for the existence of the intermediate.
        So is the case with CO2 : Nature sucks it out of the atmosphere, whatever the production is. Should the production double, or drop by half, wouldn’t change much in the atmosphere. What really matters is the consumption

      • Ferdinand, did you take a look at
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/03/15/chaos-climate-part-1-linearity/ ?
        All this linear nonsense of yours make me think you didn’t … or maybe you didn’t understand ?
        Besides, read again
        “The total CO2 cycle on earth behaves as a simple linear system out of balance over at least the past 55 years: there was a 4-fold increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (whatever the cause) and the CO2 cycle responded with a 4-fold increase in net CO2 uptake. The fourfold increase of human emissions in the same period in my opinion being the main cause.”
        Then laugh of yourself, or feel ashame (according to your mood). Because you obviously did no real reckoning of the implication of your hypothesis. Do it, please … This should be pretty easy : are we not talking about a “simple linear system” ? with a single command variable (cumulative human emission since 1960 summer solstice — 1960 precisely : not 1950, nor 1975, nor 1835 … ) ? 6 grade work, with some spreadsheet available on every computer or even smart-phone nowadays ; but I smell a Nobel prize nonetheless, and I am proud to be one of these who had some exchange with you before your official distinction.
        If things could be so easy …

      • Ferdinand:
        You wrote

        the ice cores (resolution ~10 years)

        I assume that is a misprint and you intended
        “the ice cores (resolution ~100 years)”.
        Indeed, if your misprint were correct then there would be a direct comparison between the ice core and Mauna Loa data sets for the period from 1958 to 2010.
        If you want high temporal resolution then use the stomata data because it provides data from individual years,
        Richard

      • paqyfelyc,
        I have 34 years practical experience with chemical processes and everything around it.
        Do you believe that, if humans did not burn carbon, the atmosphere would experience a dramatic plummet down in CO2, making it disappear in mere centuries ? I think not, despite that is what your argument implies.
        That the response of CO2 in the atmosphere is linear with the increase in emissions does NOT imply that without human emissions the decline would be rapid, neither that it would be zero. The e-fold decay rate is slightly above 50 years and that was so 55 years ago and still today, despite a 4-fold increase in emissions. The decay rate is for the excess CO2 pressure above steady state for the current (ocean) temperature, which is ~290 ppmv. That is a half life time of ~40 years, thus 40 years after ending all human emissions the current excess of 110 ppmv would drop to 55 ppmv, after 80 years to 27.5 ppmv,… until 290 ppmv is reached.
        Likewise, your argument implies that it would be stupid waste to bring CO2 in greenhouses’ atmosphere, because it would just stay there with no effect. However, this is done, with profit.
        I didn’t say or imply that: many (not all) plants grow faster with more CO2, all other necessities being available in sufficient quantities. In nature, CO2 is not the only restriction: the increase with 30% of the CO2 pressure in the atmosphere caused ~1 GtC/year more uptake by the biosphere on a total cycle of ~60 GtC in and out over the seasons:
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf
        And it is so, because Atmosphere is NOT a reservoir of carbon, It is just a pathway between several much bigger reservoir (biosphere, ocean, …).
        What? Never heard of stirred reactors? These also are “only pathways” between bigger reservoirs with raw materials and bigger reservoirs of finished products…
        What is in the atmosphere as CO2 affects what is going in and out the oceans and into the biosphere.
        The rest of your remarks only shows that you have not the slightest knowledge of what a mass balance is. Even if all CO2 which is produced was consumed in the same second, the mass balance still must be obeyed. In this case the seasonal temperature changes exchange about 20% of all CO2 between the atmosphere and the other reservoirs each year. Exchange is NOT the same as change. Human emissions are additional and add to the total pressure in the atmosphere, that has a separate effect on CO2 sources (oceans) and sinks (oceans and biosphere) than temperature.
        All this linear nonsense of yours make me think you didn’t … or maybe you didn’t understand ?
        The fact that you don’t recognize a linear response even if it is before your nose again shows that you don’t know what you are talking about. Read the first part of that article again, or look at any textbook for a reaction of any first-order process to a disturbance… See e.g.:
        http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Kinetics/Reaction_Rates/First-Order_Reactions

      • Richard,
        As I wrote:
        Resolution depends of accumulation rate and is less than a decade for the past 150 years
        Of course, the resolution get worse for periods farther in the past, as the ice cores with the longest record have the smallest accumulation rates and hence the worst resolution. The same is true for stomata data, even if these have a better resolution…
        The 10 years resolution is for two of the three Law Dome ice cores. The third was drilled downslope and has less resolution (~20 years), but spans ~1000 years. The latter is interesting too, as it shows a drop of ~6 ppmv between the MWP and LIA. As the LIA was at least 200 years long, the resolution is no problem.
        The Law Dome ice cores have an overlap of ~20 years with the direct measurements at the South Pole 1960-1980:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_sp_co2.jpg
        The last ice core gas composition data are from 1980 as the gas age is ~10 years older than in the atmosphere the moment that the bubbles in the ice are fully closed and the cores were drilled around 1990. But what happens in the firn (not fully closed ice) is measured too:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_firn.jpg

      • Ferdinand
        You say

        As I wrote:
        Resolution depends of accumulation rate and is less than a decade for the past 150 years
        Of course, the resolution get worse for periods farther in the past, as the ice cores with the longest record have the smallest accumulation rates and hence the worst resolution. The same is true for stomata data, even if these have a better resolution…

        We both know that is rubbish!
        The resolution is NOT “less than a decade for the past 150 years”.
        As I said, if that were true then “there would be a direct comparison between the ice core and Mauna Loa data sets for the period from 1958 to 2010”.
        Your reply admits that such an overlap does not exist but claims there is an overlap from “1960 to 1980” for Law Dome cores.
        For sake of argument I will take your claim as being true although
        (a) this ignores that the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) data begins in 1958
        and
        (b) it ignores that the ice core data are adjusted to agree with the MLO data.
        The MLO data is for individual years and, therefore, the claim that there is an overlap of the ice core data which ends in 1960 is an assertion that the
        temporal resolution of the ice core data is {2*(2014-1960}) years = 108 years.

        For the benefit of onlookers who do not understand this simple calculation, I explain the cause of this poor temporal resolution.
        The ice forms from snow that falls on the top surface of the glacier. And the snow exists as a surface layer of porous firn until it seals to become solid ice. Air in the firn is pumped in and out of the firn as weather changes air pressure. This pumping of the air mixes the entrained air so its CO2 concentration is an average of the CO2 concentrations that existed throughout the time taken for the firn to seal. The effect on the observed CO2 concentration of firn taking 108 years to seal is similar to conducting a 108 year running mean on annual data.
        Plants grow stomata on their leaves which indicate the atmospheric CO2 concentration of an individual year.
        Richard

      • Richard,
        I have had a lot of patience with your and other’s misconceptions but even my patience ends here.
        (a) this ignores that the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) data begins in 1958
        and
        (b) it ignores that the ice core data are adjusted to agree with the MLO data.

        You simply don’t know anything about ice cores and you are referencing to the late Dr. Jaworowski, who, as far as I can tell, never did any research on CO2 in ice cores.
        If you look at the above graph, you will see that the South Pole data start in 1958, that is about a year before Mauna Loa.
        If you had even the slightest knowledge how the air is mixed in the pores, top down from the atmosphere to closing depth, you would know that there is a difference between the age of the ice and the average age of the enclosed air, where the air is near what is in the atmosphere, thus much younger than the ice. Therefore there is not the slightest need to “adjust” the ice core gas age to agree with Mauna Loa or the South Pole or any other station.
        The late Dr. Jaworowski was completely wrong on that point:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html
        Your calculation of the average mix in the air of an ice core is pure nonsense, as the age of the ice at Law Dome is only 40 years at bubble closing depth and the average gas age is only 7 years older than the air above it. So, even if the air is a mix of 40 years of air (not 108 years), most of the oldest years are already gone and the average is not 20 years even mix but largely skewed towards recent years. That can be calculated from the diffusion speed at temperature and density (pore diameter) in the ice core. For more info, from which you may learn:
        http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf
        Plants grow stomata on their leaves which indicate the atmospheric CO2 concentration of an individual year.
        You “forget” a few points: plant stomata are not CO2 measurements, they show some effect of CO2 on stomata density or better stomata index (ratio between stomata and other cells). But as these leaves by definition grow on land, they have a local/regional bias of (higher) CO2 levels than found in the rest of the atmosphere. The bias is compensated for by calibrating the stomata proxy against direct measurements and ice core levels over the past century.
        (If the ice cores are not reliable CO2 measurements, the stomata data thus aren’t any better…):
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/stomata.jpg
        which shows that a SI of 7% may be 320 to 360 ppmv…
        Moreover, there is not the slightest guarantee that the local/regional bias didn’t change over previous centuries due to changes in land use, urbanization, industry, wind direction, temperature,…
        Further: yearly resolution is only for the past century, resolution of the far past is far worse, but still better than for ice cores.
        Anyway, the absolute values derived from stomata data should be taken with a grain (or a lot) of salt…

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen:
        I long ago lost patience with your bigoted refusal to consider anything which refutes your untrue assertions.
        This sub-thread began when warrenlb resurrected the daft ‘mass balance argument’ which I refuted so you tried to pretend that nonsensical circular argument has some validity.
        Your attempt at that support mostly consisted of misrepresentation of ice core data and stomata data. I generously offered you the chance to correct one of your misrepresentations as being a “misprint”. You said ice cores have a temporal resolution of ~10 years and I suggested you had probably intended to write ~100 years.
        My suggestion concurs with the IPCC statement of 83 years.
        I repeatedly pointed out that if were true the ice cores have a temporal resolution of only ~10 years then there would be a direct comparison of ice core data to Mauna Loa data up to year 2009. You have repeatedly ignored that fact but replied with data from Law Dome ice cores.
        I explained how that Law Dome data concurs with my suggestion of ~100 years temporal resolution. Your response again ignores my point and makes a set of assertions based on a set of yet more assumptions.
        And you have switched to an attack of the late Zbigniew Jaworowski whom I did not mention and whose shoes you are not fit to clean.
        Furthermore, you have the gall to introduce the post which makes that attack by saying

        I have had a lot of patience with your and other’s misconceptions but even my patience ends here.

        Your patience ends?!
        Good! So stop posting the nonsense which paqyfelyc and I have been refuting.

        Richard

      • Richard,
        All what you have shown is that you – and paqyfelyc – don’t know where you are talking about. You simply don’t want to accept anything that may be remotely supporting AGW, even if rock solid and based on every single observation, from the mass balance to the oxygen balance and every observation in between.
        I still haven’t heard any alternative explanation from you which doesn’t violate one or more observations.
        Until then you are working contra productive in any debate between (real) skeptics and alarmists…
        I always look at all evidence: I have looked in depth at ice core data and stomata data. Ice core data are very accurate measurements of CO2 from the past with one drawback: the CO2 data are smoothed over a decade to 600 years, depending of the snow accumulation rate. Stomata data are a proxy with all problems that gives: far less accuracy, a local bias and variability which may change over the centuries, and the unknown influence of other natural points like rain and drought.
        What is certain is that if there is a discrepancy between average stomata data and ice core CO2 data over the period of resolution of the ice core, then the ice core data are right and the stomata data are wrong.
        And I repeat, two of the Law Dome ice cores have a resolution of less than a decade, as can be calculated from the diffusion in firn pores during densification of the ice and confirmed by CH4 measurements and the 14C bomb spike.
        As I said, but you obviously don’t want to, you can learn a lot about ice cores from the previous link. The bubbles in the ice are starting to close after 40 years and the average gas age is 7-15 years older than of the atmosphere after all bubbles are closed. That gives a resolution of less than a decade.
        Your (Jaworowski’s?) 83 years (ice age at closing depth) is for the Siple Dome, which has a resolution of ~20 years. For Vostok the ice age at closing depth is thousands of years and the resolution is ~600 years.
        The ice age and the difference between average gas age and ice age have nothing to do with the resolution, but have a common factor: it takes more years to fully close all bubbles if the snow accumulation rate is small, which also gives much older ice at closing depth, but also much longer periods back in time before reaching maximum depth.
        I repeatedly pointed out that if were true the ice cores have a temporal resolution of only ~10 years then there would be a direct comparison of ice core data to Mauna Loa data up to year 2009.
        Richard, either you are willfully obtuse, or you – again – don’t know where you are talking about. The Law Dome ice cores were drilled around 1990, so they can’t show any CO2 levels from after 1990. The bubble closing starts at CO2 levels ~7 years older than atmosphere, but the firn measurements show a smooth transfer from ambient levels in 1990 to closing depth (~72 meters).
        If one should measure firn and ice at Law Dome today, one would find the same level differences with the atmosphere as in 1990, smoothly changing from near atmosphere level to any depth.
        I suppose that everybody here knows that over the years I have been extremely patient with everybody, painfully showing the step by step reasoning that shows what is true and not true in climate science. But some people, like you, simply don’t want to learn and again and again show already many times refuted arguments like stomata data, only because you like the data, which don’t have the accuracy and have a variable bias for which it is impossible to compensate for in the far past.
        And again and again the “arbitrary shift of 83 years” to fit the ice core data with the Mauna Loa data, which only source is the late Jaworowski, who obviously didn’t accept that there is a difference between the age of the ice and the age of the enclosed air (he did know, but refuted that knowledge). Quite remarkable for an ice core specialist…
        Thus please Richard, stop spewing nonsense about ice cores and stomata data for which you have not the slightest knowledge of your own and accusing others of using “refuted” arguments, which were not refuted at all.

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen
        Your long-winded twaddle begins by asserting
        .

        All what you have shown is that you – and paqyfelyc – don’t know where you are talking about. You simply don’t want to accept anything that may be remotely supporting AGW, even if rock solid and based on every single observation, from the mass balance to the oxygen balance and every observation in between

        No, Ferdinand, I have “shown” that
        1.
        The ‘mass balance argument’ is circular nonsense.
        2.
        You know the ‘mass balance argument’ is circular nonsense.
        3.
        You make assertions about ice core and stomata data which have no relation to reality.
        4.
        You change the subject every time when it is repeatedly pointed out that if it were true the ice cores have a temporal resolution of only ~10 years then there would be a direct comparison of ice core data to Mauna Loa data up to year 2009.
        5.
        You throw insults like confetti at everybody (even those who are dead and whose work has not been mentioned) who points out your errors.
        The nearest you have come to addressing any of these of your errors is your now having written

        Richard, either you are willfully obtuse, or you – again – don’t know where you are talking about. The Law Dome ice cores were drilled around 1990, so they can’t show any CO2 levels from after 1990. The bubble closing starts at CO2 levels ~7 years older than atmosphere, but the firn measurements show a smooth transfer from ambient levels in 1990 to closing depth (~72 meters).
        If one should measure firn and ice at Law Dome today, one would find the same level differences with the atmosphere as in 1990, smoothly changing from near atmosphere level to any depth.

        No, Ferdinand, I am not being obtuse and you and I both know you are deliberately talking bollocks!”
        In this sub-thread I here explained that the limit to ice core resolution is the time taken for the firn to seal. If resolution is 10 years then data is an average of the 10-year period taken for the firn to seal, and the ice that sealed this year provides the average for the 10-year period centered on 5-years ago.
        You introduced Law Dome as a method to obfuscate. But if you stick with firn closure in 1990, then the data is for an average centered around 1985 if closure is 10 years.
        Ice has not stopped forming since 1990 and, therefore, my point remains true.
        Importantly, the ice age to gas age difference is a fiddle factor used to ‘adjust’ the ice core data to match the MLO data. Air does not move through the solid ice at the instant the firn seals (unless you can explain the magic which enables this).
        After all that you have the gall to write

        Thus please Richard, stop spewing nonsense about ice cores and stomata data for which you have not the slightest knowledge of your own and accusing others of using “refuted” arguments, which were not refuted at all.

        You may think BS baffles brains, but those of us who have studied this subject see through your BS. The daft ‘mass balance argument’ was yet again refuted in this thread here and you jumped in because it had been again refuted.
        Richard

      • Ferdinand
        “I have 34 years practical experience with chemical processes and everything around it.”
        You posted your facebook page where I had already seen that. So what ? You think I would defer to your authority ? To bad that only makes me more demanding, and less forgiving of your shortcomings.
        What have you done with your training and professional experience ? all dumped in the mind reactor ?
        “I didn’t say or imply that: many (not all) plants grow faster with more CO2”
        Trouble is, that’s precisely what the mass balance argument is all about : that what humans add to atmosphere stay there, because nature can only cope with “its” carbon cycle, from which humans are somehow excluded. So indeed you didn’t say such a nonsense. you even strongly argued yourself that it is nonsense !
        Besides, methink you forgot it all. whatever the psychological cause, you thought you could teach me, so you just misread what I wrote to twist it according you prejudices that I am some sort of ignorant. OF COURSE “the mass balance still must be obeyed.” I never wrote it doesn’t. I wrote that it won’t give you the result : you have to perform kinetic analysis (which includes, but do not reduces to, mass balance considerations). understand the difference ?
        Hence all the useless discourse of yours’. not false, surely, but “not even false” and useless, because it’s all based on hypothesis that cannot even be tested.
        that there is some steady state at 290ppmv ( hey, there are seasonal variation, you know… )
        that there is a fixed decay rate, with ~40 years half time (again : not possible with seasonal variation).
        that, because some sort of linear response somewhere in chronicles, when sherry-picking some sort of ad hoc variables, the whole process was, is, and will be linear (as if life, and hence carbon chemistry on earth, were not utterly chaotic)
        that the carbon cycle has anything to do with a “first order process” (seriously …)
        “What? Never heard of stirred reactors? ”
        what ? forgot that in stirred reactor a technician as you were must tune the in and out, if he wants to achieve steady state ? that indeed much of chemistry work is to organize things that would otherwise run dead or amok ? that such a steady state must be sought after, and is nothing but “natural” ? that a stirred reactor can exhibit cyclical or even chaotic behavior under a constant stream of reactants ? that the concentrations of the reactants in the reactor have no reason to always be in a linear relation with in flow, even-though they may be some time?
        Forgot that first order reaction are studied and sought after, not because they make the bulk of chemistry in nature, but simply because they are the simple case that we can cope with our limited minds and materials ?
        What have you done with your training and professional experience ? all dumped in the mind reactor ?

      • paqyfelyc,
        No need to give one damn to experience. I don’t either, but if you don’t recognize a linear response of the carbon cycle to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, whatever the source, then I don’t need to take your “knowledge” of such processes any serious.
        There are seasonal and year by year variations in the carbon cycle where the seasonal cycle has a global net result of 5 ppmv/K, despite the huge (countercurrent) fluxes between atmosphere and oceans and between atmosphere and biosphere. The biosphere (extra-tropical forests in the NH) wins the contest, as the opposite CO2 and δ13C changes show and lower CO2 in spring with increasing temperatures.
        The year by year variability is at 4-5 ppmv/K (based on the highest changes: 1992 Pinatubo and 1998 El Niño) and again caused by temperature influence on (tropical) forests: higher temperatures (and drought) give less CO2 uptake (even more release) by/from the biosphere.
        The long term (MWP-LIA and glacial-interglacial) changes are not more than 8 ppmv/K and mainly driven by the oceans, as the parallel changes of δ13C and CO2 show.
        Since at least 1990, the biosphere as a whole is a proven sink for CO2, as the oxygen balance shows.
        The oceans can’t be the main source of the increase as that would violate Henry’s law for the solubility of CO2 in seawater and the δ13C would go up, not down. Lots of measurements in the oceans show that the oceans are a net sink for CO2, not a net source.
        Human emissions are twice the increase in the atmosphere, half the emissions as mass (not the original molecules) must be removed somewhere. The mass balance shows where:
        – human emissions are ~9 GtC/year
        – ~1 GtC/year is captured by the biosphere
        – ~0.5 GtC/year is captured by the ocean surface layer
        – ~3 GtC/year is captured by the deep oceans.
        – ~4.5 GtC/year remains in the atmosphere.
        Every point of the mass balance is based on additional measurements:
        – the oxygen balance for the biosphere.
        – the DIC level in the ocean surface.
        – the trace movements of the 13C/12C, 14C, CFC’s,… in the deep oceans and over three million measurements of (deep) ocean waters over the decades.
        that what humans add to atmosphere stay there, because nature can only cope with “its” carbon cycle, from which humans are somehow excluded.
        Again you are accusing me of something that you made up yourself. All natural carbon cycles are temperature driven, the additional CO2 in the atmosphere increases the pressure in the atmosphere. The reaction of the natural cycles on pressure is not the same as the reaction on temperature. There is hardly any change (a small increase) in the seasonal amplitude visible over the past 55 years, despite 70 ppmv extra CO2 pressure. The net effect is only 1 GtC/year more uptake than release in vegetation , while the cycle remained around 60 GtC in and out, where the “in” (leaves/wood decay) is not even influenced by CO2 pressure in the atmosphere.
        The same for the oceans: seasonal ~50 GtC in and out (surface), extra pressure: ~0.5 GtC/year extra uptake.
        ~40 GtC in and out (deep oceans), extra pressure: ~3 GtC extra uptake.
        All what counts is the increase in CO2 pressure which is mainly caused by humans and a small addition from the temperature increase over the past 160 years: good for 6 ppmv increase per Henry’s law.
        The 290 ppmv at steady state is what is measured in ice cores, millions of direct seawater measurements and middle of the ballpark of what can be found in the literature for the solubility of CO2 in seawater at the current (weighted) average ocean temperature, according to Henry’s law, even if you don’t like the ice core data…
        that there is a fixed decay rate, with ~40 years half time (again : not possible with seasonal variation).
        The linear response was slightly over 50 years e-fold decay rate 55 years ago, 27 years ago and today, no matter the seasonal and year by year variability (which both level off to zero after 1 year to maximum 3 years).
        See: http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm for the decay rate calculation of 27 years ago.

      • Richard,
        I agree that the mass balance alone is not sufficient to prove that humans are the cause of the increase in the atmosphere. In some very extreme coincidences, natural causes may overwhelm the increase in human emissions over the past 55 years.
        That is only possible if the natural cycle increased in absolute timing a fourfold since 1960, as that is what human emissions did in that time frame and so did the increase in the atmosphere and the net sink rate.
        If you have any indication that the total carbon cycle increased a fourfold in the past 55 years, you may have a point. If you don’t, then all your words are just words in the wind…
        Your refusing to accept the ice core data is simply because you don’t like the data. That is the only reason I can think of.
        Take a look at the way the ice cores sample CO2:
        – The ice at Law Dome is formed from ~1.2 m ice equivalent snowfall per year. That makes that at bubble closing depth (~72 m) there are 40 layers of snow and firn, thus the ice at closing depth is exactly 40 years old, layers were counted.
        – If the air pores between snow – firn – ice remained wide enough, the CO2 levels at the bottom would be about the same as in the atmosphere, as 40 years of diffusion is a lot of time to equalize the levels.
        – That means that in such a case the average gas age is 40 years younger than the age of the surrounding ice.
        – If the bubbles were closing in only one year, the resolution of the enclosed air for CO2 measurements would be 1 year, still the air 40 years younger than the ice at the same depth.
        – In reality, the pores get smaller with depth as the density of the ice increases, thus reducing the speed of migration between atmosphere and depth. That makes that the average gas age at closing depth is ~7 years older than in the atmosphere, still a difference of ~33 years with the surrounding ice.
        – Moreover it takes time to close all the bubbles, which is finished at ~82 m depth. That makes that the average gas age is ~10 years older than in the atmosphere, but 30 years younger than the surrounding ice and has a spread of ~8 years.
        Thus your accusation that ice core CO2 measurements were “adjusted” to match the Mauna Loa data is not based on any knowledge of what happens in ice cores: there is always a (huge) difference in age between the ice and the enclosed air.
        is repeatedly pointed out that if it were true the ice cores have a temporal resolution of only ~10 years then there would be a direct comparison of ice core data to Mauna Loa data up to year 2009.
        Again Richard, you are willfully obtuse: as I said, if one would drill a new core at Law Dome today, one would find the same values as in the atmosphere today (at the South Pole, not Mauna Loa, as the SH lags the NH) at 5 m depth and ~14 ppmv less at 72 m depth (7 years difference). It is not because no new cores were drilled that there is no overlap, there are simply no new data from Law Dome.
        There were more recent drillings in firn at Dome C, which show the same overlap with atmospheric data…
        Importantly, the ice age to gas age difference is a fiddle factor used to ‘adjust’ the ice core data to match the MLO data. Air does not move through the solid ice at the instant the firn seals (unless you can explain the magic which enables this).
        I mentioned the late Dr. Jaworowski, as he was the only person I know who has pointed to the “arbitrary shift of 83 years” in the Siple Dome data (where did the IPCC allude to such a shift or even mentioned 83 years?).
        Dr. Jaworowski was looking at the wrong column in Neftel’s description of the Siple findings: He used the data for the age of the ice, not the age of the enclosed air. See:
        http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/neftel82-85.pdf
        Table 1 in the second article contains 2 columns: the ice age and the gas age (with a range of 21-22 years).
        That you follow such an incredible mistake only shows that you don’t understand that air molecules move freely through the pores before the bubbles are closed. Thus what you measure in the bubbles is always much younger than the surrounding ice, with one exception: if the surface has melted, that seals the air below for further exchange with the atmosphere. In the Siple Dome ice core one such melt layer was observed at 68.5 m depth and the CO2 age below that depth was adjusted accordingly.
        Such melt layers can show up in relative “warm” coastal cores, but are completely absent in the much colder inland cores of Antarctica.

      • Ferdinand,
        well at last you say pretty sensible things, such “I agree that the mass balance alone is not sufficient to prove that humans are the cause of the increase in the atmosphere.”
        Remember that the whole purpose of all this thread was, for us, to make this clear to you.
        So this is done. Let’s cope with the rest, as it is worth
        I do recognize a linear correlation between the carbon cycle and increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Thinking of the first as a “response” to the second, it’s sheer prejudice. You surely can find many other explanations. See below.
        You think to “know” much too many things. Trouble is, it is not knowledge. Only hypothesis, some plausible, other only possibles, and some false (and it may takes decades to discover which are which).
        As you incidentally remarked, there are ” huge (counter current) fluxes between atmosphere and oceans and between atmosphere and biosphere”, with “the biosphere as a whole [] a proven sink for CO2” (not only since 1990, but since at least carboniferous era or earlier). These flux are season (light, temperature, water,…) dependent, so the year by year variation is irrelevant : biosphere has NO chronometer and do NOT follow our Gregorian calendar, it is just sensible to conditions of temperature, light, etc.
        “Human emissions are twice the increase in the atmosphere, half the emissions as mass (not the original molecules) must be removed somewhere. ”
        This sentence makes as (few) sense as if I said “since last year I add a 5 g sugar piece to my daily coffee, and I gained 1 kg last year. Since the added sugar is 1,5 kg, 1/3 must have been removed somewhere”. Nonsense. Everybody understand that you must consider the whole diet (and activity, etc.), not just the daily piece of sugar. Don’t you ?
        But that’s the whole point. So let’s examine it a little more : why “must” (it did, for sure, but was it necessary or just contingent ?) ? why “half” ? and, foremost, why [human emissions] ?
        And the evidence are that it “MUST” not, it is not “HALF”, and it is so, because “human emissions” are irrelevant. There is no Maxwell’s daemon sorting CO2 molecule, nature take CO2 whether it is produced by human, microbes, ocean degassing, volcanoes or anything. So human emission, which are 100% atmospheric, just go where every other atmospheric CO2 goes, that is (roughly), each year
        * 75 % stay in the atmosphere (NOT “half” of it, but roughly 3/4 — heavily rounded. )
        * 15 % terrestrial photosynthesis
        * 10 % ocean absorption.
        * 0 % to deep ocean (that is no direct pathway from atmosphere to deep ocean, so it just cannot go there. Of course, some of ocean absorbed CO2 may afterward (or not) go down the deep, but this is an utterly different process and question).
        On the other hand, if you look not by the year but by eons, you may say that (again, just as every carbon atom)
        * most of it will find it’s way down deep ocean
        * soil and fossil will take a smaller part
        * less than a few % will stay in the atmosphere and biosphere.
        This shows that the fact that atmosphere gained roughly half as much humans burned is just coincident. A chemical engineer should have known better. This 1:2 ratio is not a law of nature, but the by chance recent observation of a few years of recent parameters (not fixed, either : they may, and surely will, change in the future) regarding many processes, including the (pretty exponentially growing) human burning, a roughly 5 year decay in atmosphere, a 10 year decay of plants back to atmosphere, a several decade decays of soil to atm, etc.
        I confess I don’t know how things will change, whether the atmospheric CO2 will keep rising or not, and how much. You should admit you don’t, either, and drop this folly of a 1:2 fixed ratio between atmospheric increase and human burning.
        “The 290 ppmv at steady state is what is measured …” come on … How can you write in the same sentence that there is some sort of FIXED steady state dependent on (among other) a VARIABLE such like ocean temperature, that change every days, years, centuries ? …
        Besides, you should be very cautious about Henry’s law. The life driven CO2 to sugar conversion is not without impact on ocean absorption. Henry’s law is an equilibrium law, whereas the whole carbon cycle is driven by life, which is OUT OF EQUILIBRIUM dynamics ! In a world in equilibrium (dead !), earth atmosphere would be very different, I suspect pretty full of CO2 much like Venus’ .

      • Ferdinant
        it’s not a response, just a repeat. Adding these equations was useless, all your way of reasoning was already obvious beforehand, and even trivial. And wrong, nonetheless.
        you should have written
        in 1960 : Xa1 + Xa2 + … Xan – Ya1 – Ya2 – … Yap = -0.5 ppmv (this year, not “/year” !)
        In 2012 : Xb1 + Xb2 + … Xbn – Yb1 – Yb2 – … Ybp = -2.38 ppmv
        some 1960 “a” may be assumed to be equal to their 2012 “b” instances, some may not.
        [And by the way I would certainly NOT use a “per year” reckoning, but summer and winter being so different, a “per season” one (if possible, real season, not conventional date by Gregorian calendar). ]
        Most of the X and Y are NOT dependent on atmospheric concentration of CO2 (even if some are), none are dependent on human emission (but some are dependent on other human activities), so it make no sense to pretend that as a whole their sum responded linearly to human emissions. That is just coincidence. I don’t explain coincidence, and you cannot ask me to. Any X or Y (or combination thereof) that had some linear variation in the few recent years can do the trick, and there is no lack of them.
        “There is a direct link between the atmosphere and the deep oceans” is just nonsense : by definition of deep, no part of it is at the surface, where atmosphere is. In NE Atlantic the THC send down SURFACE WATER, not atmosphere (and it would take tremendous change in CO2 concentration for this to account for your alleged change in CO2 transport to the deep). The THC is interesting matter, though, because it acts as a big delay loop, bringing to present surface things of the old deep, themselves related to things of the old surface. Try this in a stirred reactor and behold the mess …
        “That doesn’t apply to the decay rate of an excess mass of CO2 (whatever its origin) in the atmosphere above steady state. That is over 50 years e-fold rate.”
        interesting sentence : the expression “excess mass of CO2 in the atmosphere above steady state” obviously PRESUME that such a steady state exist (and moreover that there is a single such steady state …). So you just cannot use it in any calculation meant to assert this hypothesis, and this is precisely what you do all along.
        “It is negligible as cause of the 110 ppmv increase measured since 1850. Or 70 ppmv since 1958.”
        We are not looking for a cause of a 110 or 70 ppmv increase, we are looking for causes that it is ONLY 110 or 70 ppmv, where it should have been so much more if human emission just added. We basically want to know if these causes will keep offsetting human emission no matter how big, or saturate and give up at some point.
        You didn’t give any such cause, just assume that somehow, some unknown natural processes are tuned by some Maxwell’s daemon to remove half of human emission. I say (again) this is sheer folly you should drop.
        “With CO2 emissions increasing in the same way (“business as usual”) and a linear sink rate, I am pretty sure that the ratio will stay around 50%.”
        Actually I, too, am pretty sure, for some next years or decade. Things are so foggy that this seems a pretty reasonable prediction (output). HOWEVER i would avoid, and urge you to avoid, using it as hypothesis (input)…

  25. if we ever run out of conventional natural gas sources the next big source of fossil fuels is the immense accumulation of hydrates on the ocean floors particularly accessible on continental shelves. these hydrates formed from natural seepage of hydrocarbons.

  26. The warmists appear to have gone quiet on methane. Remember a couple of years ago when we had loads of papers on the imminent danger of cow farts?
    I guess nobody found a good way to make money out of mitigating bovine flatulence.

  27. There is an inorganic process of forming methane. I believe that Saturn’s moon Titan has an ocean of methane. There is a good probability that inorganic methane is seeping from deep fissures in the Earth’s crust.

  28. “Over a course of 12 days Dr. Giuliana Panieri and her colleagues from Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) collected images from seven areas of known methane release in the Arctic Ocean. One of them was Vestnesa Ridge, with over 1000 active seep sites at the depth of over 1000 m.
    Methane is a potent greenhouse gas stored in the ocean floor in unknown quantities. CAGE is a centre dedicated to assessing the amount of methane stored in these reservoirs, and what impact the methane in the Arctic Ocean may have for ocean environment and climate change. Main focus of the research is gas hydrate, a methane trapped in a solid structure that resembles ice…”

    A 12 day cruise. But no samples were taken?

    “…Panieri collaborated with scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s MISO Deep-Sea Imaging Facility. The aim was to get a proper view of the deep Arctic Ocean floor.
    “We have taken so many samples all over these areas, but we were sampling blind. We needed to see what was going on down there.” says Panieri who is an awe of the results achieved during the two-week cruise…”

    Two week cruise? or 12 days? Perhaps it was 12 days an 14 nights, a party cruise?
    Instead of blind sampling they took pictures but connected them to nothing? Just random pictures…

    “…The system that was used to get these images is based on the ‘TowCam’ design developed by WHOI scientists and engineers, and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. It consists of a color still camera that takes images every 10-15 seconds.
    “This is the first time that we have seen these methane seeps in the deep Arctic Ocean areas. The images are amazing.” says Panieri.
    The midnight sun allowed for the tow cam system to be deployed 24/7 providing scientist with data that will be crucial in new discoveries in years to come. …”

    What has the midnight sun got to do with anything? At five hundred to a thousand meters, not forgetting the oblique sun angle, there will be minimal lighting at the sea floor; which explains their towed light casting cod shadows.
    Blind photographs combined with blind samples… Science?
    One wonders what they served with their peanut butter banana shakes?

    • Well aren’t we all doomed ?, but think of the grandchildren.
      It’s time to start a fund to pay reparations (overseen by those still in power when the SHTF).
      If it don’t hit the fan, we’ll all get rebates, what’s not to like ?

  29. “…potent Greenhouse gas stored in the ocean floor…”
    This seems to imply that it was not always in the ocean floor. But no suggestion as to how it got there. Also no suggestion as to how it may have formed from decay of organic ocean sediments.

  30. A principal researcher in the area of natural hydrocarbon seepage is Igor Semiletov. His specialty is the Arctic and he has found and documented some monster seepages there.
    Here is his website with email address and phone number. Perhaps WUWT could get him to contribute. He is neither NASA nor NOAA nor EPA and so probably more trusted by deniers.
    http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/people/igorsm

  31. At the depths mentioned, 500m to +1000m, how much of any released methane bubble will reach the surface? Wouldn’t it dissolve into the ocean during it’s rise?

  32. Nothing “unprecedented”, of course. As allways in the Earth sciences….
    Scientists and geologists here at University of Turin (where I got my BSc in 1991) are studing methane seeps since the late ’80s… they are well known in the fossil record of Tertiary age formations in the Italian Apennines and in the “Monferrato” hill areas of Piedmont (where they were first discovered), because they lead to the formation of some really “strange” carbonate rocks, embedded in the argillaceous deposits on the seafloor.
    Nice to see the same thing is still happening on the actual seafloor, somewhere on this planet….

  33. I wonder what temperature these seepages started out at and the overall energy from purely thermal effects are. I would bet a fair bit it is not trivial compared to the total warming. Anyway every time they find some new effects it proves they knew full well they were lying when they claimed the science was beyond question. If the science was beyond question there can be no new information and the answers must predict 100% accurately year in year out.

  34. Jamal Munashi When will half witted people please stop calling us deniers. I do not deny the existence of climate science or climate scientists any more than I deny the existence of excrement. Both exist but at least the latter can be processed into something useful.
    I am an accuser. I accuse them of unnecessarily bringing about hundreds of deaths from fuel taxes based on as I believe knowingly faked pseudo science. I will apologise for this aspersion if they can prove abject stupidity rather than fraud.
    I accuse them of either unforgivable ignorance or overt fraud on the following counts.
    Firstly the claimed normal behaviour of the climate is based on a facile and hundreds of years out of date analysis method of projection of the curve. Even by 1750 the data could be analysed to see the cyclic components but apparently climate science is not yet up to speed on the method familiar to first year undergraduate engineers. The really advanced methods I accept are the province of data interception specialists in the military and some commercial firms so even the grants cannot buy this proprietary knowledge.
    Secondly the measurements of temperature would not even meet lowest commercial quality engineering standards as used to verify the models of products like whistling key rings.and the adjustments that in engineering terms that are justified are equal and opposite to the ones done by the self proclaimed scientists.
    Thirdly no computer model of CO2 should have failed to include these seepages so the failure to take account of them in the models is a self proclaimed item of overt fraud by normal moral standards if they claim the models are representative of CO2 effects on temperature.
    I also note the bland unthinking assumption that these seepages are caused by and not the cause of the region’s warming. There is no evidence whatever either way so no self respecting scientist should be behaving the way all those in this field are doing. If CO2 and temperature cause and effect are reversed we have a nice stable and far more probably system than that theorised by the ill educated and blinkered climate fraternity.

  35. There seem to be contradictory reports on the strength of the greenhouse effect of methane. Some say it’s far more powerful than CO2, other say it only intercepts two very narrow bands of IR, and therefore has little effect. Anyone care to link to reliable data on that?
    The other issue I see with this methane alarmism is that if a average rise of one or two degrees can trigger a release, then surely a seasonal rise of the same or larger can do so as well. Now, I’m not sure how much the arctic seabed temperature changes by season, but if it’s more than a degree or two then it would seem to invalidate this trigger-point theory.

    • I’ve searched to try and find the reasons for the claim, and there’s not much out there. I come up with the following:
      1. There’s not much of it, so an increase of 1 ppm CH4 would more than double its current concentration. For CO2 without regard to feedbacks, it’s about 1.2K for a doubling. For a doubling of CH4 the internet seems to be silent.
      2. The molecular wt. of CH4 is about 36% that of CO2 so the claims are usually accompanied with a pound for pound qualifier.
      3. Methane oxidizes to CO2 and H2O and is probably the source of stratospheric water vapor.
      4. Additionally there’s the modifier that says, “Methane is more powerful than CO2 on a 20-year time scale.” I haven’t found out exactly what that means.
      The claims are nuts and like all things Global Warming are upjusted on a regular basis:
      After all, methane is 72 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timescale.
      Scientific American February 5, 2010
      That abandoned wells may leak methane—which is 86 times as bad for the climate as CO2 on a 20-year time scale
      Scientific American December 9, 2014

    • Methane has an increased differential effect over CO2 because at low concentration it has an approximately linear response whereas CO2 has an approximately logarithmic response. Check out Modtran and vary the concentrations to see the effects. Although it has narrow bands they are in a region where there isn’t interference, except for N2O which is at a lower concentration.

  36. Earth’s original atmosphere is said by NASA to be similar to Titan’s.http://www.universetoday.com/908/the-early-earths-atmosphere-was-similar-to-titan/
    Titan’s mix is ~95% nitrogen and 5% methane plus small amounts of other hydrocarbons.
    http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/index.cfm?SciencePageID=75
    With methane being many times (I get lost in the 0s) our current atmosphere, why didn’t the earth
    go into and stay in the green house effect the AGWs warn us about?
    Why do people think that hydrocarbons on the outer planets, Titan, the Horse Head nebulae, and all the extra solar system planets which have had atmospheres analyses are antibiotic and earth hydrocarbons are all “fossils”?
    http://scitechdaily.com/astronomers-find-hydrocarbon-in-the-horsehead-nebula/

    • It may be. All we have is circumstantial evidence based on correlation and inference to classify it as a “fossil” fuel. Science suffered a material setback when scientists rejected its frame-based constraints.

    • It’s a tragic, ironic comedy that scientific evidence, and self-evident knowledge, that human life evolves from conception to a natural, accidental, or premeditated death, has been rejected, while science progresses without the scientific method to regulate its course. The secular incentives (e.g. money, ego, power) that corrupted scientific enterprise and human rights in the past are present in equal parts today.

  37. One thing is certain. The earth is literally awash in hydrocarbons. It is as silly to worry about a shortage of hydrocarbons as it is to worry about a shortage of water. Yet, that is exactly the foolishness we are subjected to everyday by academics, media and policymakers.
    The issue is not the supply of hydrocarbons or water, but the cost of delivering the desired quality and quantity for a given application at an acceptable price. That price is not just in terms of money but also in terms of environmental burden.
    In terms of how burning hydrocarbons puts CO2 and pollutants (notice the delineation) into the atmosphere, we are still debating the extent to which that is detrimental. I for one am still waiting for a useful number of studies that indicate what the optimum climate is for our existing biosphere. Only then can we know if any change in the climate will be harmful to future generations.
    Sadly, it seems that most of what passes for climate science today is merely intended to boost funding for more research that supports policy goals that seem to converge on more socialism, more government, less liberty and certainly a lower standard of living for everyone.

  38. n.n June 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm
    Most hydrocarbons on earth are abiotic. The western schools of geology had the misfortune to adopt
    the wrong philosophy. Dmitri Mendeleeve was the man responsible for the Russian school of thought
    on hydrocarbon geology in the 1870’s. I have studied hydrocarbons as a casual hobby since my high school science teacher told us that the outer planets had atmospheres which included natural gas.
    The short version is that I figured out a way to prove Mendeleeve and Dr. Thomas Gold correct and add
    to their findings.
    After studying topsoil maps of the world, I realized that upland topsoil, soil not in a floodplain, in the
    presence of adequate moisture owes its richness to the amount of natural gas which perks through it.
    I decided to test my hypothesis in northeastern Kansas where the topsoil is over one meter thick.
    I rented an expensive gas analyzer and drove to Kansas. I found a spot where I could dig a test hole.
    As the topsoil was very deep, it took a lot of digging to get through the topsoil, well into the subsoil,
    below any biomass which could confound my test.
    I took a large stainless steel salad bowl which I had inverted, drilled a hole in the now top, soldered
    in a compression brass fitting, attached a ¼ “ copper tube long enough to extend above original grade
    and attached a closed compression gas valve. I then refilled the hole around the gas line up to grade.
    Reconsolidation of the soil was not a problem, because it started to rain as I started to refill.
    After waiting 24 hours for gas to accumulate, I attached an adapter to the sniffer on my gas analyzer.
    The reading of combustible gases was very high and I realized that the expensive analyzer was overkill. I now
    use a combustible gas analyzer which I bought on Amazon for about $180.
    I have tested many sites since the original test, 5 on my own property in east Tennessee which has
    good soil, but is not nearly as rich as Kansas.
    I invite anyone who doesn’t want to take the word of a retired non-PhD to find a plot of rich upland
    topsoil and test my findings. Unlike some in the scientific community, I welcome tests of my methods
    and findings. It should cost you less than $250 if you dig your own hole.
    Topsoil in Kansas is not deep because of tall grass with deep roots. Tall grass with deep roots was naturally selected because it survived more droughts and wildfires in the deep soil.
    The geological record shows that CO2 has continuously cycled through the earth’s crust by
    the 220 my + layers of carbonaceous rock is easily seen in a trip down the Grand Canyon, reprocessed coming back to the surface as hydrocarbons.

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